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St. Albert Community Band appoints interim conductor

Lyle Swenson's vision is to deliver high-quality concerts and get the community involved
Kyle Swenson, music teacher at Sturgeon Composite High School, will be interim director for St. Albert Community Band's 2023-2024 season. DPROPP/Photo

Kyle Swenson was recently appointed interim director of St. Albert Community Concert Band. Dr. Angela Schroeder, an accomplished conductor who has led the community band for 10 years, is on a one-year sabbatical. 

Aptly positioned to conduct the band, Swenson began teaching music for the Sturgeon Public School Board in 2008. He is currently the band teacher at Sturgeon Composite High School where he manages several bands and has introduced an increasingly popular drum line. 

“I look forward to this year and I’m over the moon about it. I think it’s a very rewarding opportunity. You have to commit the time and search for music outside regular hours. I don’t think it’s highly stressful. But the underlying thing is looking for a home,” said Swenson. 

As of today, the community band lacks rehearsal space, and it is searching desperately before its 54th season kicks-off in September. Originally, the band rehearsed at Paul Kane High School until it outgrew the space, and the old school was demolished. 

The band relocated to the Dutch Canadian Centre where it rehearsed in the ballroom and was allocated about 200-square-feet of storage space for percussion instruments, music stands and chairs. However, the centre’s new management is making changes, and the band is once more on the look-out for permanent rehearsal space. 

“Can we find a space that meets our needs where large groups can rehearse weekly and has storage? We’d love to be able to be close in St. Albert, but north Edmonton is fine too. We’re looking for a home where we don’t have to move every year,” said Swenson who added the band’s large numbers reached 89 last season. 

Despite the challenge of rooting out a piece of real estate suitable for the band’s needs, Swenson said, “It’s an absolute honour to be part of the ensemble and play with people who share the same passion. And this year, I get to select the music, run rehearsals, lead the band in concert and maintain those positive feelings.” 

As interim conductor, Swenson’s long-range desire is to carry on founder Gerry Buccini’s unforgettable mantra, “music is for life.” Buccini passed away in June 2022 after a lengthy battle with cancer. 

“He was encouraging, humble, appreciative and always smiling. “ 

Swenson views the concert band as a vital component of St. Albert’s artistic community. 

“Art promotes art. The presence of art gives space for art to grow. We’re continually reaching out and connecting with other ensembles to grow their art. We’ll be reaching out to schools and seeing if they want to piggyback on our rehearsals, and we’ll perform their music, and they can sit in. We want to let people know we’re there for them. We’re in the presence of a very enthusiastic and supportive arts community in St. Albert. We are just one more petal on the flower to show how much art blooms here.” 

For information about a rehearsal venue or concert dates, contact President Heather Donlevy at [email protected] or at 780-990-8786. 

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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